The Lynden Christian boys basketball team is continuing its chase to make history and the Lyncs find a familiar foe standing in their way.
The top-ranked Lyncs thrashed Toppenish in the Class 1A state semifinals, 82-60, on Friday, March 3, in the Yakima SunDome.
The impressive victory puts LC in the state title game on Saturday at 3 p.m., when they face King’s. And if that sounds familiar, it’s because the two teams have played for the state title the past two tournaments.
Check Whatcom Hoops for the latest stories and photos from the state tournaments in Yakima.
Should the defending champions win Saturday, it would mark the first time in Lynden Christian’s storied history that the boys basketball team would have won back-to-back state titles.
But let’s let the Lyncs enjoy Friday’s big win first.
“I had a lot of fun last year,” said junior Jeremiah Wright, who was a reserve on LC’s 2022 state championship team. “This year it’s more serious. But it’s still fun.”
The Lyncs (25-2) had fun Friday against the run-and-gun Wildcats (20-7). That’s because the Lyncs can run and gun with the best of them.
Lynden Christian shot 57 percent from the field and hit 47 percent of its 3-pointers. It added up to its third-highest point total of the season and a lot of smiles.
“We played old-fashioned ball,” said LC coach Tim Zylstra. “Inside-out.”
And LC dominated both. Wright was a tower of power inside with 23 points and 10 rebounds as the Lyncs outrebounded the smaller Wildcats, 38-21. Then when the Lyncs elected to go outside, six different Lyncs totaled eight 3-pointers.
Senior Tyler Sipma had 16 points and two 3-pointers, junior Dawson Bouma had 13 points, sophomore Gannon Dykstra had 9 points, senior Dexter Zylstra had 8 points including a pair of 3s, and senior Lane Dykstra had 7 points.
With eight different Lyncs scoring and nine grabbing at least two rebounds each, it was indeed a team effort. Bouma and senior Griffin Dykstra also had 4 assists each as LC finished with 15 assists.
“The guys love each other and they share the ball,” said coach Zylstra. “We’re really hard to guard when we share the ball.”
While the coach didn’t know who they’d be facing in the final since the King’s-Blaine semifinal was played later, he knew what to expect from his team.
“The boys have worked hard,” he said. “They’ve prepared for this all season long. We executed really well tonight. Hopefully, we keep it going in the championship game.”
For Wright, it was just fun to share the moment with his friends.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “When we were young we’d come every year and picture ourselves on that court. It’s really cool to do it with the guys I’ve been playing with since kindergarten.”
Lynden Christian 82, Toppenish 60
Toppenish 15 11 17 17—60
Lynden Christian 18 20 23 21—82
Toppenish: Graysen Mesplie 11, Josh Perez 18, Shane Rivera 18, Santana Luna 2, Jayden Hanson, Josh Myers, Anthony Cisneros 2, Izaiah Maldonado 2, Nick Cortes, Jason Sanchez 7, CJ Torres, Gage Williams.
Lynden Christian: Tyler Sipma 16, Gannon Dykstra 9, Dawson Bouma 13, Dexter Zylstra 8, Griffin Dykstra 5, Lane Dykstra 7, Isaac Paxton 1, Braden Kuik, Jeremiah Wright 23, Luke Van Kooten, Treven Blair, Boyce Robertson.
CLASS 1A STATE TOURNAMENT
At Yakima Valley SunDome
Wednesday, March 1
#6 Toppenish 62, #14 Seton Catholic 42 (loser out)
#2 Zillah 80, #10 Seattle Academy 55 (loser out)
#5 King’s 72, #12 King’s Way Christian 49 (loser out)
#8 Overlake 50, #16 Lakeside (9 Mile) 46 (loser out)
Thursday, March 2
Toppenish 73, #4 Freeman 64
#1 Lynden Christian 58, Zillah 45
King’s 66, #3 Annie Wright 63
#7 Blaine 80, Overlake 52
Friday, March 3
Zillah 69, Freeman 57 (loser out)
Overlake 50, Annie Wright 49 (loser out)
Lynden Christian 82, Toppenish 60
King’s 57, Blaine 38
Saturday, March 4
Zillah (24-3) vs. Overlake winner (18-9), 9:30 a.m. (winner fourth, loser sixth)
Toppenish (20-7) vs. Blaine (18-8), 1 p.m. (winner third, loser fifth)
Lynden Christian (25-2) vs. King’s (19-6), 5 p.m. (winner first, loser second)
Jim Carberry is a former Bellingham Herald sports editor and author of several books on Whatcom County prep basketball. Follow him on Twitter @whatcomhoops and visit the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.